For most readers of Transatlantic Gardener, spring is here or it’s on the way – and, in spring, a gardener’s attention turns to… rock plants. And for the serious alpine plant nut, there’s nowhere more interesting to go than the International Rock Gardener magazine.
This free – yes, free (but donations welcome) – monthly online-only magazine is published jointly by the Scottish Rock Garden Club and the Czech Prague Rock Garden Club and features authoritative yet very readable articles about rock plants and alpines of all kinds.
I was especially struck by the issue from January this year which is entirely given over to a review of Eranthis – the best known of which is the winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, an invaluable early bulb. What a revelation to see so many lovely forms! You may be surprised to see that some are white (below, click to enlarge).
Recent issues have featured the orchids of Crete, rock garden construction, plant hunting in China and in Turkey and in other intriguing locations, botanical issues are explored, and bulbs are frequently featured. And everything is presented in way that suits readers all over the world.
It’s also very important to say that the photography is outstanding – and there’s plenty of it.
It’s only realistic to say that International Rock Gardener is not for real newcomers to rock gardening; it assumes a little knowledge of the subject and some of the plants discussed are not easy to obtain - although those tempting pictures will excite even the most basic novice. But this is a valuable window on the serious world of alpines and features many fine plants that most gardeners don’t even know exist.
And all you have to do is go to the International Rock Gardener page where you can download pdfs of every monthly issue going back to January 2010. And why not make a donation while you’re there?
* The snowdrop on the cover, by the way, is ‘Grake’s Gold’, the aconite is Eranthis pinnatifida.